This Day in History

Here’s a daily project for your class to work on together (in which each student probably contributes once a week, depending on your class size). Instead of giving your students a large task, here they have just a little bit to do at a time throughout the year or semester.

Create a board on your classroom wall for this project. Across the top or through the middle, you can write “This Day in History”. Divide the board up into 3 or 4 regions, each half the size of a letter-sized paper. Create a designation for each region. We propose the following:

    • World Events
    • Innovations
    • Pop Culture
    • Local Affairs

Each day, one of your students will place a piece of paper listing something signification that happened in that category on that day of a previous year. With four categories, you’ll have four students do this on one way, then a different four students on the following day, and so forth. You may divide the students into the designated categories at the end of the year and have them rotate within their groups, or you can specify which category a student is assigned to each day, perhaps by drawing out of a hat.

All they have to do is write one sentence – that’s all! (Of course, you can choose to upgrade this project for more advanced students by having them write a description in addition to a headline.) They can also include an image. They’ll need to state the year, too. Including the time it takes for research (there are plenty of This Day in History websites), each instance of contributing to this project should only take five minutes per student.

What the students produce may be subject to the resources available in your classroom. You can have them type up the headline and add a picture to half a Word document (and have another student do their headline and picture on the other half) then print it out. Or you could simply have the students write the headline on a notecard, then pin that card to the board.

Students will of course need to know when it’s their turn ahead of time (at the very least the day before), as everything except pinning the paper to the board should be for homework. You might choose to tell the students what they’re assigned to at the beginning of each week, or have a rotation in place so that each student knows which other student they follow. Students should keep in mind that whatever they research and write down should be for the day they’ll pin their paper on the board, not necessarily the day they’re working on this task.

This project is practice for writing full sentences, and it might expose students to new vocabulary. It’s also a way for them to learn a little bit more about the world they live in. Perhaps on occasion you can even facilitate a class discussion on any of these events that the students find interesting.

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This project is for practicing PASSIVE VOICE. Students note key moments or achievements across history within a chosen field and discuss why they are important.

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